USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
A four-stage model o f decisionmaking was investigated in the context o f low-impact practices among rock climbers in the Bitterroot Valley o f Montana. Previous research has suggested that knowing what to do to minimize environmental and social impacts m ay not be the only factor limiting compliance with recommended visitor behaviors. Results from a sample o f climbers at Kootenai Creek indicate that the way people are introduced to the sport has an important influence on attitudes toward low-impact practices. Significant differences were found between those who learned to rock climb indoors and those who learned to rock climb outdoors, as well as between those who were introduced to the sport o f climbing with fixed anchors versus those introduced with removable climbing equipment. Summary recommendations for effective natural resource com munications focus not just on what visitors are being asked to do, but also when, why, and how it is socially appropriate for them to do so.